Libya fund opens Goldman Sachs court case

14 June 2016

Sovereign wealth fund aims to recover $1.2bn

Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, opened its London court case against US-based Goldman Sachs on 13 June.

The LIA is aiming to recover $1.2bn lost in nine disputed trades in 2008, on which Goldman Sachs made a $200m profit.

It claims that the trades were made under “undue influence” from Goldman Sachs, and that the complex structured derivatives were unsuitable for an unsophisticated investor such as the LIA.

“The claims are without merit and we will continue to defend them vigorously,” responded Goldman Sachs, which denies all wrongdoing. It argues that the LIA’s losses were due to the 2008 global financial crisis.

The LIA was set up in 2006 to manage and invest Libya’s oil wealth.

The LIA also claims that Goldman Sachs acted improperly by offering a paid internship to the brother of Mustafa Zarti, a senior official at the fund. One Goldman Sachs employee took him on holidays to Morocco and Dubai, including paying for prostitutes, the LIA alleges.

The LIA is also pursuing France’s Societe Generale in a similar case worth $2.1bn.

It is also subject to a leadership dispute between Hassan Bouhadi and AbdulMagid Breish. The latter was removed under a law preventing Gaddafi regime figures from holding government posts, but disputes this.

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